A Native American ceremony in full Indigenous dress

“Decolonize dinner” and explore diversity of Latino cuisine with Centro Hispano and PBS Wisconsin on Dec. 2

November 22, 2021 Tara Lovdahl Leave a Comment

PBS Wisconsin and Centro Hispano of Dane County will host the sixth annual Evening of Dreaming online at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2. This free, virtual food event will celebrate the diversity of Latino cuisine as chefs and panelists discuss the theme of “decolonizing dinner.” Participants will be encouraged to engage in a candid conversation about food appropriation, colonialism and activism in the context of Native culture.

Hosts Karen Menendez Coller and Luke Zahm, host of PBS Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Foodie, will virtually guide attendees through an educational culinary journey alongside renowned chefs and activists chef Elena Terry and chef Anthony Gallarday. 

Chef Anthony cuts corn off the cob as he prepares a meal in his kitchen

Photo courtesy of Alex Miranda, Bravebird Media

The theme of this year’s Evening of Dreaming, “Decolonizing Dinner,” urges people to reclaim the power of their Native food by returning to traditional practices. Menendez Coller explains that at Centro Hispano of Dane County, “We recognize that the loss of our Native traditions has intentionally and detrimentally impacted the well-being of people of color in the United States today.”

Speakers will discuss the importance of traditional foods to Latino cultures and why it is important to rethink our connection to agriculture. The event will also examine how food is grown and cooked as a form of advocacy, and how recommitment to Indigenous food is a way to preserve Latino heritage and identity. The featured dinner ingredient will be Zea mays (maize or corn).

For free registration and more information about The Evening of Dreaming, visit micentro.org/an-evening-of-dreaming.

About Centro Hispano

Centro Hispano of Dane County serves the community through empowering youth, strengthening families, and engaging the community. Throughout the year Centro provides a constant space for Latinos of Dane County and their allies to gather. They hold over 100 community events a year that bring together local leaders and community members to shape the future for Latinos in Dane County, celebrate cultural identity and engage with each other.

A camera man films a female chef at her stovetop

Photos courtesy of Sujhey Beisser

Meet your Evening of Dreaming panelists

Karen Menendez Coller, executive director at Centro

Originally an immigrant from El Salvador, she holds 20+ years of community-based experience working across multiple sectors. Centro is the leading organization in Dane County prioritizing a vibrant, thriving, resilient Latino community through holistic family-centered work that is grounded in community voice. Highlighted in 2016 by Madison 365 as one of “Wisconsin’s Most Powerful Latinos,” she received the Inaugural Nan Cheney Award for Social Justice from Forward Community Investments and was also named the National Hispanic Heritage Foundation Leadership Award Recipient for the state of Wisconsin in 2017.

Luke Zahm, owner and chef of Driftless Cafe and television host of Wisconsin Foodie

Luke is the current host of Wisconsin Foodie, an Emmy Award-winning television series dedicated to discovering the stories behind the food we eat. Wisconsin Foodie artfully blends food, cooking and travel while showcasing local businesses, restaurants, purveyors and farmers – telling their story and helping to promote a local, sustainable economy.

A camera crew films a woman speaking with a sun setting over a field behind her

Photo courtesy of Sujhey Beisser

Elena Terry, executive chef/founder of Wild Bearies 

After having been a traditional food cook and working in the restaurant industry for over a decade, Elena shifted her focus to community-building several years ago, merging her passion for education through Indigenous foods. Elena is also the Food and Culinary Program coordinator for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, and maintains partnerships with the Intertribal Agriculture Council, Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative and UW Horticulture Department.

Anthony Gallarday, chef at Tavo’s Signature Cuisine

Anthony started his career at the young age of 10 while working alongside his father at many well-known restaurants in the city of Milwaukee, including their own family restaurant. While he was pursuing his degree in economics and business management, Anthony realized his main calling was the culinary arts. He is truly passionate about every dish brought to the table and believes that cuisine is like fine art. He focuses on providing not only eye-catching dishes full of flavor and tradition, but to make them healthier as well. In his spare time, Anthony likes learning new techniques, crafting new potential dishes, and using his creativity and expertise to revolutionize modern Mexican cuisine.

The featured image of this article is courtesy of Alex Miranda, Bravebird Media.

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